it is quite often postulated that the present location of purana qila, the region developed by humayun and sher shah suri in the 16th century, was once the ancient city of indraprastha. This notion is further reinforced by the fact that there existed a village within the qila called ‘inderpat’ till the last century.
There were a series of excavations conducted by the Archaeological Survey of India during 1950-55 and 1969-73. The excavation undertaken by b.b.lal in 1954-55 revealed that the site was inhabited in 1000 B.C. He found potsherds of painted Grey Ware and Northern black polished ware. however, the proof was not sufficient enough and subsequent excavations were conducted from 1969-73. These revealed a cultural sequence from the mauryan, sunga, kushan, gupta, post-gupta, rajput, delhi sultanate to the mughal period. however, nothing related to painted grey Ware was found. the cycle was again repeated in 2014. a few months into the excavation the work was stopped as nothing concrete could be found that belonged to before 4th century c.e.
according to the hindu mythology and tradition, it is believed that it was at indraprastha that Indra, the king of devas, performed sacrifices and worshipped Vishnu. As a consequence of it Vishnu blessed the spot where these activities were conducted, on the banks of river Yamuna, and named it ‘nigambodhak’. here the knowledge of vedas could be attained by taking a dip in the river as per the padma purana. The literal translation of nigambodhak is ‘that which makes known the knowledge of the Vedas’. a popular belief is that this spot is today’s nigambodh ghat on the banks of river yamuna.


1. singh, upinder. “delhi: ancient history”. 2006.

2. safvi, rana. “where stones speak: historical trails in mehrauli, The First City of Delhi”. harper collins. 2015. Pg. no. 8-9.

3. liddle, swapna. “chandni chowk: the mughal city of old delhi”. speaking tiger publishing pvt. ltd. 2017. pg. no. 5